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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-05

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 5 October 2009 Issue No: 3314


  • [01] Comfortable PASOK lead, Parliament majority - at 50%
  • [02] Papandreou: Time to start rebuilding country
  • [03] Congratulations for Papandreou win
  • [04] Karamanlis to step down from ND helm
  • [05] KKE on election results
  • [06] Karatzaferis, Tsipras on election results
  • [07] SYRIZA
  • [08] Vote casting
  • [09] National elections underway in Greece
  • [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [11] Metropolitan Nikiforos of Didymoteicho, Orestiada and Soufli passes away
  • [12] PM, family visit New Acropolis Museum
  • [13] Kavala man arrested for refusing polling station appointment
  • [14] Migrant smuggling arrest
  • [15] Seaman drowns in ship collision
  • [16] Cloudy, some showers on Monday
  • [17] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
  • [18] Spokesman: Davutoglou's statements ''provocative and unacceptable''
  • [19] Commissioner Rehn urges Turkey to actively support a Cyprus solution
  • [20] Speaker describes Downer's stance as 'unacceptable' Politics

  • [01] Comfortable PASOK lead, Parliament majority - at 50%

    Main opposition PASOK party and its leader George Papandreou posted a landslide election victory on Sunday in Greece's snap election, garnering 43.58 percent of the vote with 50 percent of precincts reporting nationwide at roughly 11:30 p.m. (21.30 GMT).

    PASOK was leading ruling New Democracy party by more than 8 percentile points, with the latter receiving 34.98 percent at the same 50-percent mark.

    Earlier, a unified exit poll aired by most Athens television stations gave PASOK between 41 to 44 percent of the vote to ND's 34.3 to 37.3 percent, with PASOK eying 151 to 159 projected MPs in Parliament, easily over the 150-limit (out of a 300-deputy legislature) needed to form a self-sufficient government. A 43.33-percent figure would translate into 160 MPs for PASOK, while ND's tally, if it stands, would be in the mid 90s.

    The exit poll was conducted by the firms GPO, Alco, MARC, Metron Analysis and MRB-RASS, and presented by the state-run NET station, along with the private Alpha, Alter, ANT1 and Mega TV channels.

    [02] Papandreou: Time to start rebuilding country

    PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday spoke in a nationally televised address in central Athens hours after his party posted a landslide victory over rival New Democracy (ND), as he is tapped to become the next prime minister of Greece with a comfortable Parliamentary majority of around 160 MPs.

    "We are beginning the building of a Greece we deserve, and which we can have," he said from the Zappeion Hall in central Athens.

    He issued a call to Greek citizens to aid in this effort, as he said, referring to a "difficult juncture" for the country.

    "The course will not be easy, and efforts will have to be made, but I can assure you that I will always be sincere with the people, believing in this way. With a collective effort, we will be able to solve the country's problems," he said.

    Finally, he said that he knows "which powers are blocking the country with corruption, lack of meritocracy, lawlessness and waste," saying he believes the country can free itself from these forces.

    [03] Congratulations for Papandreou win

    PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Sunday evening received several congratulatory phone calls from world leaders as well as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who congratulated him for his party's victory in Sunday's snap election, wishing him every success.

    Papandreou, a former foreign minister, also received a phone call from US President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to be amongst the first to congratulate the PASOK leader, along with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and former Greek premier Costas Simitis, Papandreou's predecessor at PASOK's helm.

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) president also conveyed his congratulations to Papandreou.

    [04] Karamanlis to step down from ND helm

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday evening announced that he will step down from the helm of his New Democracy party, in the wake of a same-day crushing electoral defeat and main opposition's PASOK landslide victory.

    He said a party congress will be convened in a month's time, where he will not stand for re-election as party leader.

    Karamanlis, 53, served as premier since March 2004, winning general elections twice (2004 and 2007), losing once by a slim margin in April 2000 before Sunday's convincing loss.

    He spoke during a nationally televised address at the Zappeion Hall in Athens, after first conceding defeat and phone PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    In his address, Karamanlis assumed the responsibility for the party's defeat, adding that it was "self-evident" that he will not be a candidate at the upcoming party congress.

    Initially, he thanked the citizens who supported ND in the elections at such a "difficult economic and political conjuncture", adding that the government had to face the "storm" of the most serious postwar international crisis.

    "At the same time I assumed without a second thought to present with absolute sincerity the difficult decisions and not the pleasant measures that must be taken in the economy," the prime minister further said and congratulated main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou for his victory ... Just like every Greek, we hope that he will succeed in the big challenge of the economic conjunctures because this challenge is a national cause," he said.

    "Millions of citizens were with us, with spirit, with faith in the aim of these struggles. In 2000 we increased our election percentages impressively. In 2004 we won the elections and assumed the responsibility of the country's governance. In 2007 we achieved a new considerable election victory," he said, adding:

    "In today's elections I raised myself as a major issue, as was necessitated by the circumstances through difficult but necessary decisions the handling of the long-lasting weaknesses of the economy and an exit from the crisis as soon as possible. I submitted a realistic plan which, as I believed and believe, constitutes the safest path to safeguard the economy and as of 2011 development for all and not for a few.

    "I shall remain in the front line of the party; I shall support the decisions that shall be taken in the congress and the leader who shall be elected through anticipated procedures. I shall remain in the front line of the national struggles," the prime minister concluded.

    [05] KKE on election results

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga termed Sunday's election results as a "heavy defeat for New Democracy and a victory for PASOK without, however, the positive developments that have taken place in the conscience of the people during the years of governance by New Democracy and PASOK being registered."

    She added that "results were in accordance with the influence and the role of KKE in the development of popular struggles."

    Papariga further said "there was a change of captain, but the direction is on the same course" and predicted that a storm of anti-popular measures are coming and that KKE is ready to assume its responsibilities for a unified front that will include working classes, small farmers and small shops.

    She also said that KKE "shall be on the front line of the struggle to thwart the worse and for seeking solutions to relieve the people."

    [06] Karatzaferis, Tsipras on election results

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis, in a statement at central Athens' Zappeion Hall on Sunday night, stressed that it is obvious that the country's political map has changed, adding that (PASOK leader George) Papandreou is the winner of the elections, while at the same time congratulating the latter.

    Karatzaferis further opined that the New Democracy party sustained a "profound political defeat" and will enter into a major period of introversion. He added that his party achieved its target of 15 deputies and will face PASOK with a strong opposition.

    "In the good things it will find us together and in the grey ones opposed to it. Our role shall be more responsible and we shall continue with seriousness," he concluded.

    [07] SYRIZA

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said the people rejected the policy of ND, which led to a heavy defeat, "a defeat of right-wing policy with greater poverty, greater unemployment and greater insecurity. The government is changing, but what is required is for government policy to change as well."

    As regards SYRIZA, Tsipras said it succeeded in overcoming problems and entered Parliament with a strong Parliamentary presence.

    "Our aim is to distinguish ourselves as a force of Leftist programme opposition," he stressed.

    Earlier, Tsipras telephoned to Papandreou to congratulate him for his party's victory in the elections and wished him all the best in his task.

    [08] Vote casting

    PM: Investing in the people's sound judgment

    "We are investing in the Greek people's sound judgment," prime minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis said Sunday morning after casting his vote in Thessaloniki during Sunday's snap general elections, stressing his conviction that "the victory is in our hands".

    "Today, the Greek men and women are making a decision of responsibility. They are deciding on a safe exit from the crisis, on policies that are tough but guarantee a dynamic start to the race of development from 2011 onwards," Karamanlis said.

    'We are investing in the sound judgment of the Greek people. I have absolute confidence in the citizens' maturity. The solutions, the developments, the country's tomorrow, our children's future, are all in our hands. Victory is in our hands. Together, we are winning hope," the prime minister added.

    PASOK leader: 'Together, we will change Greece'

    "I am certain that, together, we will change Greece," main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said in Nea Erythrea on Sunday, after voting in Sunday's snap general elections.

    "I am certain that, together, we will change Greece. This is what we want, and we can succeed," the PASOK leader said.

    "Today is a day of democracy. Today, every individual, with his vote, has equal power to decide on the country's future, on a better tomorrow for himself, his children and his family," Papandreou added.

    Papariga: 'Trust in the KKE'

    "Put your trust in the Communist Party of Greece (KKE)," party leader Aleka Papariga urged on Sunday after casting her vote in Athens in Sunday's general elections.

    She warned once again that a storm of anti-popular and anti-labor measures were on the horizon, adding that they would chiefly affect the 40-year-old and younger generations.

    "No more disappointment. No more bowing to the false rationale of the 'lesser evil'," she said, stressing that "hope is a good thing, but when it goes into a wrong vote, it turns into a major weakness and ineffective defence".

    She urged the people to trust in the KKE in order to inspire the popular counter-attack and safeguarding of the working people's last remaining heard-earned rights after the 'raids' by the New Democracy and PASOK governments.

    Tsipras: The 'forgotten' society has its say today

    Now is the hour for the 'forgotten' society to have its say, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday morning, after casting his vote in the general elections in the Ambelokipi district in Athens.

    "In this hour, the forgotten society, all those who in the preceding period did not have a voice of their own, speaks," Tsipras said, adding that "all these people known that what is truly at stake is not to change the party that governs us, but to change the policy that governs us".

    "At this hour, we address ourselves mainly to the citizens who are disappointed in the two mainstream parties (ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK), regardless of whom they voted for until yesterday, and call on them to back SYRIZA (the SYN-led Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance) not only because our political life and society need a voice of our own, but because voting for SYRIZA is the best way to punish all those who belied their hopes, to punish and condemn the policy that lead to the greater poverty, to bigger unemployment and corruption," Tsipras said.

    The SYN leader added that "we believe that, together, we can build a shield of social solidarity and protection against the crisis".

    LAOS leader Karatzaferis: Time to 'retire' mainstream parties

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis cast his vote in Thessaloniki in the morning in Sunday's snap general elections.

    Karatzaferis said afterwards that prime minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou are "two good guys from two good families" that have consistently governed Greece (alternately) over the past 35 years, "leading the country to bankruptcy, and concession of the name Macedonia to FYROM and the Aegean to Turkey".

    "It is now time, after 35 years, for the Greek people to 'retire' them. Otherwise, our vote will be of no avail," Karatzaferis added.

    Ecologists-Greens seek seat in parliament

    Ecologists-Greens ballot leader Nikos Chrysogelos called on voters to put his party in parliament, after casting his ballot in Nea Halkidona on Sunday.

    Chrysogelos said that there was a big wave of affinity with the Ecologists-Greens in the Greek society, and urged voters to turn that affinity into a political message of change.

    He asked that his party be voted into parliament so that a new era in politics can commence and that the every day life of the people will improve.

    Chrysogelos noted that the country is going through a big economic, environmental and social crisis, which means that "we need to change, now...the changes in both policy and our way of life must change, now".

    President Papoulias: 'The Greek people are voting for their future'

    "This is a top moment, in which the Greek people are voting for their future," President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said after casting his ballot in Ioannina in Sunday's general elections.

    "I hope and wish that everything will go well," the President added.

    [09] National elections underway in Greece

    Nearly 10 million Greeks take to the polls throughout the country on Sunday in snap general elections.

    Voting began at 7:00 Sunday morning all over Greece, while polling stations will close at 7:00 p.m.

    Voting is mandatory for the total of 9,835,007 registered voters, of which 5,076,727 are women and 4,758,280 are men, while 2.5 percent of are first-time voters. The voting age is 18 and up.

    Voters will directly elect 288 members of parliament in the country's 56 electoral districts, with crosses of preference. The remaining 12 seats in the 300-member parliament will be distributed among the list of 'honorary' candidates nominated by the respective parties on their State MPs tickets on the basis of the percentage each party receives in the elections nationwide.

    The first indicative results are anticipated at approximately 10:00 on Sunday night, with preliminary estimations at midnight, while final results are expected around 5:00 a.m. on Monday.

    Financial News

    [10] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.465

    Pound sterling 0.924

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 10.331

    Japanese yen 130.99

    Swiss franc 1.522

    Norwegian kroner 8.514

    Canadian dollar 1.598

    Australian dollar 1.697

    General News

    [11] Metropolitan Nikiforos of Didymoteicho, Orestiada and Soufli passes away

    Metropolitan Nikiforos of Didymoteicho, Orestiada and Soufli passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 78.

    Nikiforos, born Athanassios Archaggelidis, died in a private clinic in Alexandroupolis, where he was hospitalised for a terminal illness he had been battling for several years.

    Born in Ferres, in Evros prefecture in 1931 and a graduate of the Halki Seminary School and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Nikiforos was ordained a deacon in 1956 and a senior priest in 1961.

    He was elected and ordained a Metropolitan (Bishop) in 1988.

    The late Metropolitan's body will lay in state at the Panaghia Eleftherotria church in Didymoteicho, while his funeral will be held on Tuesday.

    [12] PM, family visit New Acropolis Museum

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis accompanied his wife and two children on a tour of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens on Saturday, a day ahead of general elections.

    The Karamanlis family was given a guided tour of the new state-of-the-art museum by the head of 1st antiquites directorate (ephorate) Alexandros Mantis.

    [13] Kavala man arrested for refusing polling station appointment

    Police in Kavala arrested a 32-year-old man on election Sunday because he refused to serve on the supervisory committee of his local polling station, even though he had been appointed as a regular member.

    The man appeared at the 117th polling station early on Sunday morning to vote, where he was informed by the Returning Officer that he had been appointed as a member of the committee. He refused to remain, however, claiming that he had not been informed or notified in any way and was prevented by family obligations.

    The Returning Officer reported the incident and the man was placed under arrest and brought before a Kavala public prosecutor, who set a date for a trial and released him.

    In other areas of northern Greece the electoral process was proceeding without incident, barring delays in the arrival of some Returning Officers and supervisory committee members in some polling stations in Xanthi.

    There was also a small disturbance in a large polling station in the centre of the northern Greek city of Drama, where a young man distributing election tickets of a specific candidate prompted protests from party representatives present and was asked by police to leave the premises.

    [14] Migrant smuggling arrest

    A 38-year-old foreign national was arrested on Saturday west of Thessaloniki on migrant smuggling charges, after police discovered six illegal immigrants, including a minor, in his vehicle. Additionally nine passports were discovered.

    [15] Seaman drowns in ship collision

    A seaman drowned early Sunday after two freighter ships collided northeast of the island of Amorgos, resulting in the sinking of one of the vessels.

    Under conditions as yet unknown, the small Greek freighter "Kapetan Michalis" sank off Amorgos after a collision with the Malta-flagged Ukrainian freighter "Santana". The body of the Greek vessel's 70-year-old cook Nikos Drossos was spotted a few hours later by a passenger ferry.

    The 'Santana' was led to the nearby island of Syros.

    The 'Kapetan Michalis', with a 9-member crew on board and carrying a shipment of cement, was sailing from Carpathos island to Myconos island, while the 'Santana', with a 20-member crew and loaded with iron sheeting, was sailing from Ukraine to Thailand.

    Weather Forecast

    [16] Cloudy, some showers on Monday

    Cloudy weather with occasional showers is forecast throughout Greece on Monday. Winds mainly northerly, ranging from 3-5 Beaufort. Temperatures between 12C and 27C. Cloudy in Attica, with possible showers in the east and north and temperatures between 17C and 26C. Cloud in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 23C.

    [17] Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glance

    Sunday's general elections and speculations on the "morning after" dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Karamanlis, without hesitation: All of Greece is 'blue' (representing the ruling New Democracy party)".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Today we elect a leader that will responsibly and efficiently administer the country's present and future".

    AVGHI: "A strong SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance) in parliament and in the struggles is in our hands".

    AVRIANI: "The new government also doomed to failure" in the face of the immense problems threatening the country's future.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "George's (main opposition PASOK leader Papandreou) era - Change of scene - Forecasts indicate clear-cut PASOK victory, with self-sufficient majority - What is waiting to be seen is the extent".

    ETHNOS: "Papandreou gives indication of his intentions: I will put an end to the partisan state and arrogance".

    KATHIMERINI: "Agony over the 'morning after' - Today, the citizens decide - As of tomorrow, the leadership is called on to work creatively for the country".

    LOGOS: "The 'morning after' scenarios - The outcome of today's elections will be decisive for the future of all the parties".

    NIKI: "Vote for self-sufficient government - George and PASOK the guarantee for our children's future".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Every vote for the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) is a blow against plutocracy".

    TO VIMA: "The new government - The changes, the faces, the problems - PASOK self-sufficient majority to emerge from the ballot boxes".

    VRADYNI: "Vote of responsibility - In the face of the critical crossroads, the Greek people are making today the responsible choice and placing their confidence in the government that will lead them safely to the future".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [18] Spokesman: Davutoglou's statements ''provocative and unacceptable''


    Cyprus Government Spokesman described on Saturday statements made by Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglou that his country will not implement the Ankara protocol prior to the solution of the Cyprus problem as ''provocative and unacceptable,'' adding that such attitude should concern the EU, its member-states, the Commission and its President.

    ''The statements made by Davutoglou especially after meetings with EU officials are provocative and unacceptable,'' Stephanou said, adding that ''through these statements appears an arrogance of a country that has unhindered violates the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of a member-state of the UN, the EU and other international institutions, the Republic of Cyprus.''

    Turkey, which seeks EU membership, occupies since 1974 Cyprus' northern part, refuses to comply with numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of its troops from Cyprus. Ankara does not recognise the government of Cyprus and has so far refused to meet its EU obligations towards the Union and Cyprus, by normalizing relations with Nicosia and opening its ports and airports to Cypriot flagged vessels and aircraft.

    ''This attitude should concern the international community and especially the EU of which Turkey seeks to become a member, its member-states, the European Commission and its President,'' Stephanou added.

    The spokesman noted ''that Turkey has time until the coming December to change its unacceptable stance, to follow a positive policy, above all to help itself, and fulfill its obligations it undertook towards the EU and its member-states, including the Republic of Cyprus''.

    Otherwise, he added, ''the EU and its member-states should react because Turkey must realize that the Union cannot tolerate the constant mockery and should proceed taking measures for the implementation of its own conclusions.''

    The spokesman noted that the only way for Turkey to assist its EU bid is to help the ongoing UN-backed effort for a solution to the Cyprus problem, while concurrently the EU should insist on the fulfillment of its own decisions.

    Replying to a question on how Cyprus will react in case that Turkey fails to implement its obligations towards Cyprus by December, Stephanou said that Cyprus' National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus problem, has drafted a strategy on the issue.

    He noted that the Council has decided that Turkey through its EU course should cooperate for a solution to the Cyprus problem, otherwise Turkey cannot continue unhindered its EU accession course. President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008 with a view to finding a mutually agreed solution.

    [19] Commissioner Rehn urges Turkey to actively support a Cyprus solution


    EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn, has called on Turkey to provide active support for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, as well as to implement the Ankara Protocol by opening its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and planes.

    Rehn was speaking before Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, after their meeting on Friday in Brussels in the presence of the Commission's President Jose Manuel Barroso.

    The Enlargement Commissioner said they had a long discussion on the Cyprus issue, adding that the Commission urged Turkey ''to provide active support for a comprehensive Cyprus settlement".

    Rehn also said that all efforts should be focused on ''Plan A'' for a solution and the reunification of Cyprus and reiterated Turkey's obligation to comply with the Protocol of Ankara.

    In his opening remarks, Commissioner for Enlargement described his talks with the head of Turkish diplomacy as ''very friendly and useful'' and expressed satisfaction at the ''substantial and frequent'' discussions they have.

    Additionally, he praised the initiatives of Turkey in a number of issues, noting as ''very encouraging'' the efforts of the Turkish Government to solve the Kurdish issue, as well as the efforts to normalize relations with Armenia.

    He also praised Turkey's intervention in Middle East, the "important role'' the country plays in Iran and the Balkans and the recent intergovernmental agreement for the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline.

    Speaking about the progress of Turkey on meeting the accession criteria, Rehn spoke for ''positive'' developments as regards the reform of the Judicial System. However, he pointed out that much remains to be done on issues of press freedom, religious, trade union freedoms, and minority rights, which, as he said, the Commission continues to follow with attention and concern.

    Asked, whether year 2015 is a feasible date for the accession of Turkey in the EU, Rehn refrained from answering, noting that it is not possible to talk about specific dates before concluding the accession negotiations. He added that he is not able to know when a country will meet EU's accession criteria.

    [20] Speaker describes Downer's stance as 'unacceptable'


    House President and President of the Democratic Party Marios Garoyian has described as provocative and unacceptable the Secretary-General's Special Representative to Cyprus Alexander Downer's stance.

    In statements on Sunday, Garoyian said he believes there is an issue with Downer which he will have to discuss with the President of the Republic as well as with political party leaders in order to convey the message that this situation cannot continue.

    Garoyian was invited to respond to press reports about Downer's role that he has been allegedly using illicit practices with regard to his mission in Cyprus.

    He said that the role of UN representatives is very delicate and very important and should they should always remain within their mandate, however "what we see is completely unacceptable, conveys the wrong messages and is misleading", he added.

    This, Garoyian said, "is not the role of a UN representative, it is not the role of the UN Secretariat, it is not the role of those who have set to serve the principles and values of the UN and offer their services to solve the Cyprus issue, based on the UN Charter, the House President remarked.

    "Those who used to sent the message in 2004 that the Greek Cypriots were going to accept the Annan Plan, are wrong if they are now still sending the message we will accept a bad solution to the Cyprus issue, that we will accept a solution that will violate human rights and fundamental freedoms, if they mean that we will accept a solution with Turkish guarantees and Turkish settlers or Turkish forces", the House President added.

    "It is an unacceptable procedure, a procedure that has no boundaries and we have an obligation to protect the institutions and our country, protect Democracy and free dialogue and our own entity both as personalities and also as political parties", Garoyian concluded.

    President Christofias and Talat began on September 3, 2008, direct negotiations with a view to reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The two leaders will meet again this week.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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